Bollywood Film Review “Mom”

  

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE

First, the Recap:

Is there anything more intensely acute than the unwavering devotion of a mother towards her children? Under the most normal conditions, is it not so often Mom who comes to her children’s side when trouble has occurred, or rushes to be the first to join in the adulation of accomplishments achieved? It is a deep, abiding place of commitment and unconditional love–and Mom will do anything to protect her progeny. For humble school teacher Devki Sabarwal (Sridevi), being beloved by students is supplanted by the total love she has for her husband Anand (Adnan Siddiqui) and more so for her precious step-daughter Arya (Sajal Ali), the latter of whom refuses to accept Devki as her mother.

Undeterred by the teen’s obstinance, Devki keeps up her attempts to gain Arya’s love and respect.  However, when allowing her to attend a party with friends that takes a nightmarish turn, leaving Arya hospitalized and even more embittered and distant, Devki soon feels the law is not on her side in bringing the men responsible–Charles (Vikas Verma), Mohit, Jagan (Abhimanyu Singh), and Babu (Pitobash)–to justice. Seeking the aid of shady P.I. Daya Shankar Kapoor (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), Devki embarks on a campaign to inflict her own sense of retribution against Arya’s attackers. Even as the men begin to drop one by one, a stalwart Detective, Matthew Francis (Akshaye Khanna), endeavors to unravel the truth before it’s too late for everyone involved.

Next, my Mind:

The task taken on by debut director Ravi Udyawar was daunting enough via being at the helm of his first film, much less to direct a stellar cast, while trying to take an overall theme (revenge) that’s been done so many times over and make it fresh. The end result, for this reviewer, was what could have been a completely mediocre adventure had it not been for the solid directorial execution and more so fantastic performances by the film’s artists that become the effort’s salvation. The story on the surface isn’t anything new at all–mother loves child, child gets seriously hurt, parent seeks judgement on their own terms for resolution–and therefore again, really doesn’t lend itself to any overtly special recognition. The visuals are crisp, the music score certainly adds the appropriate air to the proceedings, yet it still at times felt lacking somehow. But, this therefore opens things up to, as hinted above, the elements where the film gets salvaged.

With almost 300 films logged in a career that spans 50 years in the industry, Sridevi’s highly volatile, emotionally immersive role as Devki is completely mesmerizing, assuredly showcasing the veteran actress’ formidable talent and dramatic fervor. The character’s dynamic journey from soft-spoken mother and wife to cold, calculating vessel of retaliation and back is not only believable, but fully draws the viewer into every single nuance and associated sentiment Devki experiences to the maximum extent. You will feel her love, her anger, her heart-rending anguish, and beautifully relieved joy in each moment presented, a superb acting masterclass by such an amazing actress. Her interactions with such a myriad of other characters also allows Devki to further explore the depths of these attitudes in the facets mentioned, which only adds to the magnitude of Sridevi’s enactment of a woman consumed with an examination of morality, justice, and unconquerable adoration for her child.

With this as the groundwork and Sridevi’s performance as the anchor, additional supporting turns are likewise magnified here. Ali is endearing and heart-achingly vulnerable as Arya, a teen rebelling against a stepmother she has no desire to connect with until circumstances radically change her viewpoint. Master character actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui turns in yet another awesome performance as the seemingly weasely, admittedly unorthodox, yet steadfast P.I. DK, whom Devki reluctantly seeks out in her plotting. Adnan Siddiqui gives Anand a suitably passionate demeanor as a doting husband and loving father who initially has no idea what his new wife is up to, all the while trying to seek out resolution via more–traditional–ways. Khanna as Det. Francis is wonderful, playing him as a no-nonsense but law-abiding officer whose piecing together of events and what it is leading to adds solid tension to the story. Finally, Verma, Singh, and Pitobash absolutely shine in creating the primary villains of the tale, characters whom who will truly love to hate with every fiber of your being, and that frankly, you cannot wait to see get theirs. This very much is a tribute to each actor’s performance.

In total, “Mom” may not be the most incredible film Bollywood has produced lately, but it is still very much a worthy offering to engage in seeing, greatly aided by such a spirited, bold, and magnetic group of actors who took what could have been totally mundane and made it worthwhile.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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